Junot Diaz 's The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao Essay

1265 Words Dec 6th, 2016 6 Pages
In Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao we get a greater glimpse into the politics of phenotypes and authenticity in Dominican culture. More specifically in its relationship to blackness. In Irene Lopez, a Puerto Rican clinical psychologist’s essay, Puerto Rican Phenotype: Understanding Its Historical Underpinnings and Psychological Associations, she posits that, “Puerto Ricans who consider being “Indian” more beautiful, or more authentic, than being Black and, thus, often prefer to claim this over a Black identity.” (164) Though the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are two distinct countries possessing their own history and geopolitics when it comes to blackness, one cannot ignore the colonial and synchretic context in which they were both born into. Thus, it would be safe to claim that their relationships to blackness are extremely similar. Diaz’s authorship seems to comply under Lopez’s rhetoric, as well. In following his two young Dominican protagonists’ through America, he captures their anxieties about their phenotypes and relationships to blackness. Though the novel’s presentation of these mixed raced heroes seems to perhaps suggest an embracement of a racial synchretization, it highlights the ongoing abjection to blackness that is intrinsic to the legacy of colonialism.
In the book’s epigraph, the speaker sets a tone for the folklore of the novel, the Fukú, which is entrenched in the Africanist Presence. This presence is a vessel for the imaginative…

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